Cells

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End stage liver diseases, such as Stage 4 cirrhosis takes the lives of about 10,000 people every year in the United States, and unfortunately this number only seems to be increasing.

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The role of viral vectors as carriers, to effect and manipulate expression of certain genes, has done wonders in the realms of medicine and therapy. Experts are now considering the possibility of the very same virus vehicles to instead transport cargo to the neurons of the nervous system. This would help them to understand and treat neurodegenerative disorders and other diseases more effectively in the future.

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In ancient times and up until the late 1800s a popular theory was that infectious disease was caused by miasmas, foul vapors emitted by rotting material. Swamps were a particularly strong source of “bad air;” in Italian this was referred to as “mala aria” and the disease caused by vaporous swamps came to be known as “malaria.” In fact, although we didn’t know it, we were engaged in genetic warfare against the true cause of malaria, the Plasmodium parasite carried by mosquitoes that thrive in swamps. Recent research, by Ellen M.

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A truth that helped make the science fiction of The Matrix compelling is that the conscious mind does not directly perceive the world, but instead depends on the reports of sensory neurons to know what is going on around it.

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Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. and colleagues recently reported a way to unmask a class of cancer cells responsible for about 4% of all cancers. New treatments may help as many as 60,000 patients a year in the US.

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes; engraving by Abraham Bosse

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Imagine never having to worry if your phone was fully charged before heading out to run or cycle your favorite trail, because you could charge it whilst exercising. Well, we could be literally one step closer to this reality thanks to a new technological advance which allows for the charging of electronic devices using something we all produce when exercising: sweat.

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Synthetic biologists, like Eric Klavins and his colleagues at Washington State University, attempt to engineer living things to carry out machine functions, such as computing. This group recently reported advances in making computer circuits in living cells, known as biocircuits. These circuits have the advantage of avoiding some of the messiness of living systems.

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New approaches to studying biological problems have been sprouting up like mushrooms. Genomics is the study of all the genes of an organism. Proteomics is the study of all the proteins of an organism. Transcriptomics is the study of all the RNA molecules made by an organism. Collectively, these new approaches are known as “omics.” They are novel in that they use techniques and computational biology software that can track thousands of molecules at once. In the past, scientists could only track a maximum of a few genes at a time.

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Scientists from the University of Geneva and the University of Basel have created an artificial virus which can be used to help alert the body to cancerous cells, encouraging the immune system to recognize tumours and fight them more aggressively.

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Usually when we go for a run and work up a sweat, we would stop and take a layer off. MIT have developed a workout suit which instead responds to your body heat, opening and closing tiny flaps which react to humidity and allow heat and sweat to escape.

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Worldwide, heart transplants provide a vital lifeline to over 4000 patients per year. Whilst for those that are lucky enough to receive a donor organ, this can mean both a huge relief a new lease of life, the process of waiting for a suitable organ can be traumatic and worrying.

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What’s inside a computer? The more curious of us have taken apart our favorite gadget. A quick peek and you will see the integrated silicon chips of the motherboard, a power supply, some data ports, and the hard drive. We all cherish our computer’s CPU and RAM, they provide the speed and processing power. And what descent into madness would there be without internet connectivity through a router port or Wi-Fi card? But the most treasured part of the computer is the hard drive. It stores our homework, our photos, our programs, and our secrets